Digital Citizenship: Why it Matters for K-3 Students

September 27, 2018

A study by Common Sense Media found that children ages eight and under spend more than two hours a day on screen media, with TV taking up 58 minutes, followed by mobile time with 48 minutes a day. The increasing availability of information and access to devices for young learners means it’s more important than ever that educators emphasize the importance of media literacy and digital citizenship in their classrooms. This includes encouraging students to think critically about the messages and credibility of the media they are consuming, as well as the media they are creating online.

Educators are finding new ways to teach early media literacy skills to students in early grades (K–3). These early media moments provide the foundation for stronger media literacy skills as students move forward in their education.

31% of kids who shared a news story online in the last 6 months later found out that the story was false.

82% of middle-schoolers believe sponsored content (ads) is real news.

The Stanford History Education Group calls young people’s ability to assess digital information “Bleak.”

3 Reasons Digital Citizenship Matters for K-2

1. The News Impacts Students
70% of students say the news makes them feel smart and knowledgeable.

63% of children say the news makes them feel afraid, angry, or depressed.

400% increase in attention span is possible when students perceive a lesson as directly relevant to their lives.
 
2. Media Consumption Is Not Slowing Down
59% of students have used a social network by age 10.

Social media is the preferred source of news for 39% of young learners. Children ages 8-12 spend about six hours a day consuming media. The number jumps to nine hours for teens.
 
3. Students Need Help Earlier
Only 44% of students say they feel they can tell fake stories from real ones online. 2/3 middle-schoolers can’t detect bias from news sources. With fewer school librarians, teaching research skills has declined in many schools.

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Introduce Students to Media Literacy & Digital Citizenship

Research projects can be an excellent opportunity to introduce media literacy skills to students, even those in preschool or kindergarten. Research projects teach students to engage in safe online practices, evaluate sources, and contribute to the conversation about a given topic.

To learn learn how to implement media literacy into the research projects you’re already doing, download this free microguide.